Spanish health workshop helps prepare students

On April 23, students met in Mason Hall Auditorium to attend an interactive program on using Spanish in healthcare fields.

Dylan Gerlach, senior from Louisville, Ky., is graduating with degrees in Spanish and biology and decided to resurrect the program, which stopped a few years ago.

Gerlach said his inspiration for rebooting the Spanish program was a mission trip to Costa Rica the summer after he graduated high school.

“I had four years of high school Spanish and I really found that I was really able to cross those cultural boundaries and kind of communicate, and be creative with the language, working around and ad-libbing words I didn’t know, and that left a lasting impression on me,” Gerlach said. “I think that trip really kind of provided some insight into how I’d like to implement Spanish into the medical field.”

Gerlach worked with Susan Drake, assistant professor of Spanish, weekly to prepare for the workshop.

Wanting the program to be interactive, Gerlach used games he learned from Drake, such as “Simón Dice” (Simon Says), to help teach body parts to program attendees.

Gerlach stressed the importance of learning medical Spanish in his program for those planning to head into the healthcare field after graduating.

“It’s important that people learn the language so those cultural barriers can be crossed,” he said. “If you cross those cultural barriers, then you can communicate better.

“If you can communicate better, you can treat someone more effectively.”

For Gerlach, the goal of the program was to make sure each participant came away with, at the very least, a little more awareness about the importance of knowing medical Spanish.

Said Gerlach: “For every participant I have, I want them to come in knowing a little or a lot, and know that they learned something — whether it be why Spanish is important or the language itself.”


Story by Amanda Grau, Staff writer